The common way of thinking about corporate social responsibility emphasizes the moral obligations of the corporation towards various stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, local community). However, this view neglects that moral relations are reciprocal and that, if we want to understand in a more comprehensive way corporate social responsibility, we must consider “the appropriate reciprocal duties that exist among corporate stakeholders” (Bowie 1991). Part of the literature on business ethics and CSR has started tackling this approach only recently, stressing the necessity to make “business ethics a two-way conversation” (Goodstein and Wicks 2007), in which more serious attention is given to the importance of stakeholders responsibility to both firms and other stakeholders. This edition of the Forum focuses on these reciprocal moral relationships, questioning whether stakeholders have moral responsibilities to the firm and other stakeholders, what the nature of those responsibilities is, and how the redefinition of the interaction between firms and stakeholders may enhance business excellence.
The Forum is organized by the Research Centre Politeia in cooperation with the University of Milan and a Promoting Committee composed by several well-known Italian companies and organizations. Politeia is responsible for the academic organization and supervision of the Forum, while the Promoting Committee provides the sponsorship of the Forum and participate in the definition of the annual agenda.
In the last years, Italy has witnessed a growing interest in business ethics and corporate social responsibility and various companies are promoting reflection and programmes on these issues.
The aim of the Politeia Annual Forum is to provide the necessary academic support for these programmes, organizing a conference in which top managers of national and international companies – companies that are known for their commitment to ethics – and experts in business ethics and corporate social responsibility from the most prestigious international research centres have the opportunity to discuss the emerging issues of ethics in the global economic system. By this way, it aims to contribute to increasing awareness and knowledge among companies about the ethics and social responsibilities of economic organizations – and to contribute to filling the gap between ‘practitioners’ and ‘experts’.
The Forum provides the opportunity to bring together and establish networks between experts involved in theoretical and empirical research in the areas of business ethics and CSR and also the opportunity to discuss and interact with top managers of large companies.
Politeia is a non profit organization based in Milan and founded in 1983 with the purpose of promoting theoretical discussion on the relationship between ethics and public choices. The centre’s research programs include political and moral theory, business ethics and corporate social responsibility, environmental ethics, bioethics, computer ethics, and science, policy analysis and law. Since 1985 Politeia publishes Notizie di Politeia, a bilingual (in Italian and English) quarterly journal, where the Forum proceedings are published.